What people are looking to do is disconnect their number from their sim card. People are keen to have a number that’s theirs but not tied to a specific handset (voip, fixed or mobile) and are looking to Google voice to give them that functionality. The extra benefit being they don’t have to carry or use the same device they are device independent.
Google voice will only give you half of that functionality, the voice portion, the text portion is still left on your handset. So you’re left holding multiple devices again, if you want to receive SMS or MMS.
This is where Truphone trumps Google Voice, Truphone disconnects your number from the device, you can install Truphone onto most mobile devices and then insert any sim, local or roaming and it’ll just adopt that network as the transport, but using your truphone number as the ‘from’ number for both voice and text. So your Truphone number can deal with both Voice and Text. But you’ve spotted the tiny issue, it only works for mobile devices.
A little while back (august 2008) I wrote to the guys at Truphone with the following message, with the relevant one here being point 4 enter the Grand Central space (Grand Central is now Google Voice)
1. Number choice – The ability to choose a number from those available and or buy a ‘gold’ (and silver?) number.
Some carriers used to have the concept of Gold and Silver numbers, where you paid for a more memorable number. If you don’t want to buy a number, you’re given the ability to select a number from the db. For example, my (GSM) number is XXXX 7887898, but my truphone number is +44XXX8804483, so I’d maybe try for 07978 887898 or 887899 for example.
2. Number portability – port my GSM number to Truphone.
James mentioned this in our short and bad line quality call the other day. I think this would be great as I could port my number to truphone and then use any carrier pre-pay sim card behind it for gsm coverage. Assuming truphone anywhere would still provide my Truphone CLI so it wouldn’t matter which sim you used. This I’m sure could cut my personal phone bill from a grand a year to a few hundred. The ability to disconnect your well known phone number from the carrier and allow you to move around carriers, both national and international would be a great benefit and provide a huge amount of freedom.
3. CLI choice – The ability to select.
I think there’s been some issues in this area with fraud, but the ability to choose either the GSM or Truphone CLI to be presented shouldn’t be a problem. People could put Truphone on their whatever phone and use it where there wasn’t any GSM coverage, but I would want to present my GSM CLI which my contacts can identify. (assuming you haven’t ported your number)
4. Enter the Grand Central space?
We don’t get Grand central in the UK and it’s had problems because it doesn’t do SMS, (no sms forward so resorting to sms to voice!). Could Truphone step into this space, by allowing users to register several numbers which are called in simultaneously or in order. The ability to define when certain numbers can get through or go to voicemail. The SMS capability of Truphone gives you a huge advatange over Grand Central here.
We know Truphone bought Sim4Travel and are working on their own sim for roaming, but I think some work on the back end of the voice routing, which could then allow users to tweak call routing via a portal would allow a much richer functionality to be gained and provide users with what they want, a number that’s not connected to a specific device that handles both voice and text.